We had a good club meeting again on the 16th September, with Matt B-Ws Par EndFedz EFHW 10/20/40m antenna serving as the HF antenna for Al’s FT857D, and what a great job it did, with clear reception all the way out to Canada and the US. The antenna is only 12.5m long but a good performer, and I’m sure we’ll have that on hand again in future meetings. There were no poles broken this time as Al brought his stouter 4m fibreglass windsurfer mast. The broken C-fibre mast from the last meeting is still being repaired by Pole Doctor in Derby – an excellent and economical repairer – best in the UK apparently.
It was a good social gathering again even though several members were on holiday or at work that day. Drinks and Jaffa cakes all round as we welcomed back Jim G3AEH, Mike M6WYW, John (SWL), Kev G0LDP, David G8OMB, Brian G3YYT, Will M6WRU, John G4IWA, Carl G0NZI and Al M0SLO. There were many good conversations as always before and after the talk.
Brian (G1YYT), is ex-RAF and a former training officer at GEC. His topic was ‘What is Electricity?’, which sounds a bit basic, but the truth really gets back to proper science. There is, of course, a lot more to the story than the basic ‘pushing of electrons’ that’s often used in schools or even Brian’s previous electrical courses! This is start of a series of conversations and practicals on radio technology, intended for both beginners and experienced amateurs to provide the foundation for getting more out of our hobby and the basis for some interesting practical club projects coming up. This first one was exploratory to see how members took to a bit of science and ‘re-learning’ to move us on. It’s given us something to think about, and there were private conversations and emails afterwards, ranging from informal support for licence training, through ideas for future items and nuclear physics! I think we’re on the right track and, with a bit of fettling, I think there is scope to move further. Let us have your thoughts!
The real way electricity moves, though, is hotly disputed even by experts due to their different perspectives. The following two videos are a fun way of getting to the truth of the matter – which leads to a really useful way of understanding how radio waves really work. This will be built up further by Brian in coming meetings through practical projects and short talks so that we can all get to a point where we can design and troubleshoot equipment ourselves. Here is one of the two videos that provide the picture. The basic question to answer is “If we have a battery and switch 1 metre away from a lightbulb, but battery and bulb are connected by a half light-second (300,000km) of wire both sides, how long does it take for an appreciable current to reach the bulb? 1 second is the obvious answer, as electricity moves at the speed of light down the wires. However, the real answer is the time it takes light to move 1 metre… have a look at this video and see the arguments start!
Nice one Brian!
We’re looking forward to welcoming everyone back on Friday 14th October for some interesting and and varied topics. Friends welcome!